Wind Power in 1987, Renner and Renner Term Paper

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Wind Power

In 1987, Renner and Renner wrote, "One year after the dramatic collapse of world oil prices, any initial enthusiasm about it has yielded to a more sober assessment of the inter- national energy market. The predicted benefits of the oil price drop have turned out to be grossly overstated: cheap, abundant oil is clearly not the solution to the world economy's deep structural problems. Moreover, oil does not seem likely to remain cheap and abundant. Last year's turmoil is part of a larger boom-bust cycle that will almost certainly usher in a new energy crisis sometime in the 1990's."

Now it is 2005, and the price of gasoline seems to rise every day. Just as Renner and Renner saw in the 80's, once again we are reminded, every time we fill our gas tanks, that over-reliance on oil for energy is a poor energy plan. While many options exist to create energy from non-petroleum sources, one showing increased success is the use of wind.

Wind generates electricity when its force on windmills creates electrical current. While the United States is using some wind energy, across the world, wind turbines generated over 14,000 megawatts in 1999. Its use is expanding faster than any other alternate source for energy. India produced 1,167 megawatts in 1999 from their "wind farms." Denmark, the country that pioneered the use of modern windmills to generate electricity, used the source to produce 14% of their energy needs in 1999 (Pasqualetti, 2000).
The use of windmills to generate electricity has distinct advantages. Its production does not contribute to global warning in any way. It does not require building dams or flooding land to create the force needed. It creates neither contamination nor by-product wastes that must be disposed of. They are easy to erect, easy to remove, and work well where the traditional electronic grid is not easily accessed. As of 2000, the cost of electricity generated by wind was about the same as the cost of electricity generated by more traditional methods (Pasqualetti, 2000).

Wind energy is what is called a "renewable" energy source, a description not quite accurate. There is no need to replace the wind; its renewal is generated by the Earth's atmosphere. Wind installations can be small are large and custom-tailored for the area they will serve.

All these advantages force the question: if wind power has so many advantages, why isn't it used more? Like all energy sources, wind power has some drawbacks. One of the major ones is based on the nature of modern life. Our cities have become huge. In the Los Angeles area, one has to drive 150 miles to get to open land. Because so much of our living areas have become so congested, people value the spaces still left open and often resist the….....

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